Joined: 06 Jul 2005 Posts: 400 Location: Tempe, AZ
Posted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:11 pm Post subject: Mill Avenue the Beautiful: Bridging the Culture Collapse
If I could look into my hot coca and divine the future I would have a better idea on where I can go with this series—but as it is, my prognostication lacks such a crystal ball, so we’ll have to stumble through unaided.
Everyone already knows my thoughts on the recent developments by Tempe City. The creation of the Tempe Town Lake, the rise of the buildings along that strange waterfront, the rise—and possible Humpty Dumpty fall—of the Centerpoint Towers. We are a city struggling, not for identity like Phoenix, but for the share of the money that filters through the bulging and growing thews of the metropolis at large.
We are a community in transition.
Talk to any cab driver resting idly on the edge of Mill Ave, waiting for a fare. There’s been a lot of changes lately. Stores have come and gone, rent goes up and up; the good ole’ local dry up and disappear… Changing Hands. Those Were the Days. Long Wong’s. In their stead we have fly-by-night nightclubs and the odd one-off fashion for the glitzy and rich, which nobody attends and that wither and fail like mayflies in autumn.
The city obviously wants to attract the sort of person who might actually be able to rent out a one-million dollar flat. At least this is what I’m being told the condominiums of the Centerpoint Towers might cost. Possible hyperbole, to be sure, but I’m certain they’re going to be violently expensive above and beyond the regular means of anyone who would live in Tempe in the first place.
The type of person who would live in these one-day-minted condos will be affluent. The city wants the gold blooded striding through their streets, vibrant and young, and made of money. Undoubtedly the dark-mirror to the floods of brighteyes during the school year from the University. Except that, in order to pander to the well-to-do one does rather quickly alienate the students. These are two cultures who both tend to take sips from the same nightlife.
Unless Tempe wants to turn all of Mill Ave into an experience for rich to slum it the entire time.
As I write up this series I will try to address specific points about how the people who would fill out those condominiums would interact with the current street culture of Mill Avenue, ASU, and Tempe. How Tempe can still have its vision of riches and manage to balance the different ideologies without imploding into a blur of Bohemian sensibility a’riot against grim gentrification.
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